4 Times the Scale Says You Gained Weight (When You Didn’t)

If the scale tipped, don’t trip.

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You work out. You eat well. When it comes to the slim-down game, you feel like you’re killin’ it. Then one afternoon you step on the scale and—gasp!—you’re randomly two pounds heavier than you were yesterday. Huh?!

Don’t worry, you haven’t been cursed by the weight loss gods. Day-to-day weight fluctuations—whether you’re trying to shed pounds or not—are totally normal.

Here are four reasons your scale may say you gained weight when you actually didn’t.

  1. You ate too many salty snacks. While it’s true that eating too many snacks of any kind may lead to eventual weight gain, it’s probably not going to pack on real pounds overnight (you’d need to eat 3,500 extra calories to gain just one pound). However, if you’ve recently noshed on half a bag of salty potato chips, that extra sodium may be causing your body to hold onto water, which can pack on temporary water weight.

  2. You ate a big meal. You may have inhaled that giant burrito in under 10 minutes, but your body needs a little more time to digest it. It takes about six to eight hours for food to pass through the stomach, and still has quite a ways to go after that until it reaches the other end. Until it does, the weight of whatever you ate may be temporarily tipping the scales.

  3. It’s that time of the month. Alongside all the other fun side effects of the menstrual cycle, bloating and puffiness due to hormone changes are also common. This can also happen if you’re on birth control. Here are more surprising things you didn’t know about your period.

  1. You pumped some serious iron at the gym. Strength training can cause small tears in the muscles (hello, soreness!) which can result in mild inflammation and water retention, a.k.a. weight gain. The good news: It’s temporary and it means you're slowly building long, lean muscles!

Remember, weight fluctuations are totally normal, so if you’re trying to shed pounds and the scale tips, don’t be discouraged. Even better: Pay attention to how your clothes fit and how you feel.

Aching for more scale-dippin’ tips? Here are bizarre weight loss tricks that actually work.